Mobile Money and Empowering the Lesser off Segments in Society: Mobile Accumulating Savings and Credit Association (M-ASCA) Model in Kenya


The Kenyan informal sector is characterized by an ecosystem of self made informal savings and credit groups as well as informal money lenders that target the unbanked and marginalized populations for credit at exorbitant interest rates. Huge sums of money are intermediated through the informal models on an annual basis. However, these models have several challenges. In addition, majority of those in the groups are vulnerable groups that have no assets to enable them get affordable credit from banks. The unemployment rate in Kenya is also very high meaning that the immediate option is self employment and consequently startup capital. The demand for affordable credit and the need for a convenient savings channel calls for innovative models that nurture a saving culture as well as a sustainable social support system.  M-ASCA (mobile accumulating savings and credit association application) is a new end to end mobile phone-based platform which allows anyone anywhere in the country to register on phone, save, borrow, guarantee and request to be guaranteed, repay loans and exit. Members accumulate savings from their virtual wallet little by little and borrow up to three times or more of their savings depending on group rules at affordable interest leveraging on their friends and relatives as guarantors from anywhere in the country. The platform also allows groups to manage common accounts with ease.

Dr. Martina Mulwa